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Once upon a time, owning a “home gym” meant giving up space in your living room for equipment. Perhaps an assortment of dumbbells and a barbell, maybe a treadmill or stationary bike, a pile of yoga equipment or any other assortment of gear. But times have changed. High-tech capabilities made possible with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and AI have resulted in the home gym receiving the smartphone makeover. Thus, a “smart home gym” can provide all the body-toning, calorie-burning benefits of a traditional membership gym packed inside a wall-mount HD touchscreen mirror or LCD panel.
Some smart home gym models are geared a bit more toward those looking for an intense and heart-pumping cardio workout. Others are designed to provide relaxing yoga or resistance training sessions. Others still are all-encompassing, making a total body workout possible thanks to a variety of workouts, live fitness classes and equipment. So, if you’re wondering whether a smart home gym can be a good investment, the answer is a resounding yes. But what’s the best smart home gym equipment that will get you the most bang for your buck?
Like anything with “smart” in its name, a smart home gym isn’t always the most budget-friendly piece of equipment. You’ll want to invest your money wisely and make sure you’re getting a product best suited to help you reach your specific home workout goals. These are the options that we believe rise above the rest.
The best smart home gym equipment:
● Best Overall: Tonal
● Runner-up: MIRROR
● Best Virtual Personal Training App: Future
● Best Portable Smart Home Gym: MaxPRO SmartConnect Portable Cable Machine
● Best Smart Treadmill: NordicTrack Commercial 1750
● Best Smart Rower: Hydrow Rower Rowing Machine
● Best Smart Elliptical: ProForm Carbon EL
● Best Smart Home Mirror Gym: Tempo Studio
The Tonal workout mirror set a bar that none of the other smart home gyms could quite reach (though many of them did come close). With the Tonal, you can ditch the dumbbells. Instead, work on muscle-building and toning using the mirror’s 200 pounds of digital weight resistance for a full-body workout that rivals the benefits of weightlifting. That’s 100 pounds on either side you can manually adjust to match your fitness level. You can also lower and raise its arms to target muscle groups. Tonal comes with thousands of live classes and on-demand workout sessions spanning 16 exercise categories, and many of its workouts use AI to automatically adjust resistance. This ensures you’re exerting just the right amount of effort without overdoing it or selling yourself short.
Tonal collects your fitness data to analyze and build personalized programs and offer weight resistance suggestions that can help you reach your fitness goals faster. It also gives you real-time feedback during your sessions and charts your progress over time to keep you motivated. Additional accessories like ropes, bars and handles are also available and it comes with a three-year limited warranty. To install and use the Tonal, you do need floor space that’s roughly seven feet wide and deep. Additionally, you’ll also need seven feet of wall space and a ceiling height of around eight feet. If you’re working with limited space, this may give you pause. But if you have the space to make the Tonal work, we guarantee it’ll give you the kind of workout you’d expect from an all-in-one smart home gym. A Tonal membership costs $49 a month and gives you access to unlimited individual profiles.
The interactive MIRROR smart home gym was the first of its kind to hit the market (a home gym that doubles as a mirror, that is). It was a very close second-place finish behind the Tonal, but it can still prove the better pick depending on your personal workout preferences. For starters, the MIRROR is all about fitness studio exercising. This means the MIRROR provides an extensive library of on-demand sessions, interactive live classes and even one-on-one personal training, which is made possible with its two-way camera. If you like trying out all kinds of different workout classes, the MIRROR will keep you busy and breaking a sweat for some time to come: It features a library of more than 10,000 on-demand workouts across a staggering 50 categories that include (but aren’t limited to) strength training, flexibility, yoga and boxing. MIRROR offers live classes every day with real-time feedback from a live instructor and it lets you work out alongside other MIRROR owners. Pair your heart rate monitor or smart watch to the MIRROR to capture and see your exercise metrics while you’re on the move. And much like Tonal, the MIRROR uses your performance data to customize your workout to your health goals and fitness level.
The MIRROR’s size works to its advantage for anyone dealing with space restrictions. Its carbon steel frame is less than five feet tall and less than two feet wide. Add to that, its depth of is less than 1 ½ inches, meaning the MIRROR can fit into all kinds of areas. Of course, the tradeoff is that the MIRROR doesn’t include the built-in resistance training you get with the Tonal. For many of its classes, you’ll likely have to invest in its additional accessories and strength training gear, like resistance bands, if you don’t already have them. Still, the MIRROR will give you quite the run for your money. A MIRROR membership costs $39 a month with a one-year minimum commitment and provides you with six profiles. If you’re unsure whether the MIRROR is for you, it comes with a 30-day risk-free trial.
Imagine personalized, one-on-one fitness instruction from your Apple smartphone or Apple Watch. That’s exactly what the Future personal training app delivers. If you need that little extra accountability that comes from a personal trainer, the Future matches you with a certified fitness instructor who can help you stay on track to meet your fitness goals. You also have the option to pick your own coach. You’re matched or chosen trainer creates your personalized workout program according to areas of importance like your fitness level, health goals, schedule and types of workout gear you own. The Future requires a $150 monthly membership fee, and if you don’t pay for the subscription, you don’t get live, real-time coaching sessions from your trainer (aside from the initial FaceTime call to discuss your goals and help develop a fitness strategy). For comparison, the average 1-hour personal training session will run you between $40 and $70, so if you use Future at least a couple times a month, it’s likely worth it. Future is not only incredibly user-friendly and well-designed, but it also has impressive functionality and metric tracking features that other fitness apps available on the market lack. You can also message your instructor at any time, which can be a nice compromise for the lack of live coaching sessions.
While the Future virtual personal training program works on all Apple products, it works the best on the Apple Watch. There’s no Android version of the app yet, but don’t worry; Future sends you an Apple Watch as part of its welcome kit if you don’t have one.
Future, ($150 monthly membership, future.co)
The word “smart” doesn’t always have to mean a gigantic HD touchscreen or Wi-Fi. A well-designed, foldable and compact frame is just as smart in its own way—and that’s exactly what we found the MaxPRO SmartConnect portable cable machine to be. It’s surprisingly lightweight, checking in at less than 10 pounds. And its cables are stronger than steel and can withstand up to 300 pounds of resistance. You secure it with your own body and then turn a dial to adjust its 50 different resistance settings with no additional weights required. The MaxPRO doesn’t even budge at its 300-pound limit. The MaxPRO SmartConnect is the ultimate space-saving, self-contained gym for your home. If you have limited space or you’re someone who frequently travels and wants reliable fitness equipment that’s easy to take along for the ride, this is it.
And lest you think the MaxPRO SmartConnect is missing any modern-day perks, it comes with access to its MaxPRO coaching app for your Android or Apple devices. The app connects to the MaxPRO via Bluetooth so you can track your performance, follow along with on-demand training sessions or customize your own resistance training workouts.
MaxPRO SmartConnect Portable Cable Machine ($1,029, amazon.com)
As far as professional-quality workout equipment goes, this is a commercial-grade treadmill that helps you conserve square footage. It may not be the smallest treadmill on the market, but this is for serious runners who want an intense cardio workout from the comfort of their own home without losing too much space or having to venture out to the gym or in nasty weather. As you can guess, the NordicTrack Commercial 1750 comes packed with smart features. It includes iFIT interactive programming and a 10-inch HD smart touchscreen. Its motor is responsive enough that your iFIT instructor can adjust your speed (from 0 to 12 miles per hour) and incline (up to 15%) during your running class using the Automatic Trainer Control function. This means you’ll never fall out of step or lag while the treadmill makes its adjustments. The motor is also fast enough for intense interval training. Like any smart treadmill worth its salt, the NordicTrack Commercial 1750 comes with Bluetooth for speaker connectivity and to provide speed, distance, calorie burn and heart rate data to your preferred fitness tracker. It even has Google Maps integration to visualize your distance against real-world locations. NordicTrack also stands by the fact that this is a commercial-grade treadmill, with a 10-year frame warranty, a two-year parts warranty and a one-year labor warranty.
NordicTrack Commercial 1750 ($1,899, amazon.com)
With its electromagnetic resistance drag mechanism and frame composed of lightweight aluminum and steel, the Hydrow Rower delivers smooth and virtually silent stroking that will get you into the rowing rhythm—to the point you may even forget you’re not actually on the water. For its $38-per-month membership, you can access daily live workouts and thousands of on-demand sessions for rowing, yoga, strength training and more—all led by Hydrow trainers. Its large 22-inch HD touchscreen is dust-resistant and can tilt and swivel like the screens you’d find on a Peloton bike. This came in handy when our reviewers tried out the Hydrow yoga and strength training sessions.
The Hydrow Rower has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. It also comes with a five-year structural frame warranty and a one-year warranty for its electronics and labor.
Hydrow Rower ($2,294, amazon.com)
The Proform Carbon EL is a smart elliptical that comes out of the box and ready to go with a free 30-day iFIT Family membership. So, not only can you get a great workout with the Carbon’s 19-inch adjustable stride and 18 resistance levels; you can also access on-demand workouts and live classes for running, yoga, Pilates and more. If you attend a live elliptical session, you can opt to let the instructor adjust the Carbon’s resistance during the class. While its five-inch touchscreen is a tad on the small side, the ProForm Carbon EL has more than enough technology cred to land it on this list as the best smart fitness elliptical. The ProForm Carbon EL has Bluetooth connectivity, so you can project your workout to your smart TV while your elliptical console continues to display distance, calorie burn and other standardized exercise metrics. It also connects to your favorite fitness app so you can track your progress. The ProForm Carbon EL also uses the data it collects to recommend personalized workouts. It comes with a 10-year frame warranty, two-year parts warranty and a one-year labor warranty.
ProForm Carbon EL ($1,199, amazon.com)
Tempo Studio is an all-in-one fitness mirror. Here’s what we mean: It combines some of the best features of Tonal and MIRROR to give you everything you need to jump into any one of Tempo’s workouts. But here’s where it’s different: Unlike MIRROR, equipment is included with the Tempo’s purchase. And unlike Tonal, the equipment included isn’t permanently connected to the frame. Its starter package comes with a workout mat, four collars, two dumbbells (7.5 pounds each) and 75 pounds of weight plates, which can be conveniently stored in the Studio’s free-standing, sturdy aluminum A-frame. There’s also plenty of storage left over for post-workout gear like a foam roller. Bigger equipment packages are available, but the starter set is solid for people who fall into the beginner and intermediate categories. Attend live Tempo classes and on-demand workout sessions on the Studio’s 42-inch HD touchscreen display and connect the Studio to your Apple Watch or ANT+ for heart monitoring.
A one-year Tempo Membership is required at purchase. This gives you access to thousands of classes, tailored training programs, real-time feedback on your form and rep counting and a community of Tempo members and experts. The membership is $39 per month but comes with six accounts.
Tempo Studio ($2,495, tempo.fit)
What to Look for in the Best Smart Home Gym Equipment
First and foremost, take stock of your fitness goals. Put all the bells and whistles of smart home gym equipment on the back burner for a second and ask yourself: “What do I hope to achieve by working out?” It can be anything from losing body weight and becoming more active to training for a marathon.
Make the goal tangible and attainable. In other words, be more specific than “I want to lose weight.” How many pounds do you want to lose? Why do you want to lose weight? With specific health goals and good reasoning behind them, you’ll be better prepared to invest in the right smart gym equipment for your home. It’s only after you know what you’re trying to achieve and why, that you should move on to the other considerations that come with purchasing a smart home gym.
If you have a space allocated to your future smart home gym, that’s great! Just make sure you take the time to measure it as well. Don’t eyeball it. Break out the measuring tape and jot down the width, depth and height of the space. When you start to narrow down your choices in smart home gym equipment, compare its measurements to your future home gym space. The last thing you want is a piece of equipment that either doesn’t fit or creates an awkward space that’s hard to navigate and use for workouts.
Smart home gyms aren’t necessarily cheap, but there are several on this list that prove you don’t have to spend beyond your means for a quality workout. Typically, purchasing home equipment enables you to ditch the traditional gym membership. So even if a treadmill or elliptical is costly up front, you normally recoup that cost over time because you’re not paying that monthly gym fee. But remember that a lot of smart home gyms are about interactivity and access to on-demand workouts and live sessions—which likely means a monthly membership. These on-demand workouts and live sessions are powerful ways to stay motivated, reach your fitness goals and become part of a larger fitness community. But you’ll want to factor the initial cost of the equipment along with its monthly membership fee into your budget.
Another note to consider: Not all smart gyms require you to sign up for a membership. If you fall head over heels in love with a smart home gym but don’t want to pay the monthly fee, make sure you like the equipment for its physical features and “free” technology, like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and heart monitoring, and not any of the features you only get with a membership. Also, check to see if a membership is required.
The warranty is something to never skip over on any piece of workout equipment, let alone a smart home gym. That’s because smart home gyms incorporate the latest technologies like graphic cards, HD screens, highly responsive motors (for treadmills), Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, AI, two-way cameras and much more. It’s all in the name of providing the best home fitness experience possible. And as fantastic as that can be, there is a tradeoff: There’s a greater opportunity for parts to fail. Give that warranty a thorough review and make sure the equipment’s manufacturer stands by the quality of its product.
Prices are accurate and items in stock at time of publishing.